“Whether you think it’s a Rip trade or Tayshaun trade (laughs), something needs to be done.” – Tayshaun Prince
There’s not much of a point for me to guess whether the proposed three-team, 15-player trade that would send away Richard Hamilton is ever going to happen. Well-connected reporters have declared the trade between the Nets, Pistons and Nuggets either dead or inevitable with even occurrence, so I’ll just say let’s really hope it does. This team needs to change drastically, and jettisoning Rip isn’t going to be enough, but it’s a long overdue first step.
By my count the Pistons now have four players who are best suited to the two-guard position, five if you count Charlie “Chuck Shots” Villanueva, and $27.5 million in salary this year devoted to the position. I’m not the first to point out the ridiculous stockpiling of shooting guards and small forwards, and I won’t spend any more time documenting it, but an unclear rotation and a poisonous discontent emanating from entitled veterans is obscuring whatever positives this team might have.
I still believe what I wrote before the season, that, even considering their deficiencies in the post, the talent of this team is good enough to make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference (and then be swept by the Heat or Magic) but the inconsistent minutes and team discord are keeping this team from realizing its unimpressive potential. Getting rid of the Phantom of the Palace lessens the strain in both areas, even if the cost is bringing in an awful center in Johan Petro and spending the rest of this season with yet another weak, jump shooting power forward in Troy Murphy.
With Rip’s contract off the book, and Wilcox and Tayshaun’s deals ending, the Pistons will have some money to play with in the offseason, and bringing in Nene Hilario or Zach Randolph for next year would vault the team into the next echelon of Eastern Conference teams, which would be the pretenders section currently occupied by the Knicks and Pacers. Give Greg Monroe another year playing next to a legitimate big man and the team could be something to deal with in a couple years.
Let’s just hope Joe D. doesn’t spend his extra cash on two no-D bench players…
On a final note… I’m fully in favor of the new T-Mac, Stuckey backcourt, but if Rip isn’t traded there is no way the team can keep giving him DNP-CD’s for the next two-and-a-half years. Something is going to have to change for this team, let’s hope for both Rip’s and the fans sakes that the change is a change of uniforms for #32.